We convened our fourth event in March 2018 in Abuja on our ‘African perspectives on peacebuilding’ series which built on the solid foundation of our wider work on conflict prevention, resolution and statebuilding.
The event was preceded by an on-the-record panel discussion, chaired by Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General at the United Nations Peacebuilding Office, which, through a focus on Nigeria, explored the challenges and opportunities that evolving global trends are creating in the peacebuilding terrain. Amongst key objectives, was the need to identify how to adapt peacebuilding practices to respond to and incorporate these trends. Participants also discussed how the unique contributions from African actors can be incorporated to augment global experiences and expertise in the international peacebuilding dialogue and policy measures field.
The event highlighted the need for continued interdisciplinary, intergenerational and cross regional discussion to share lessons learned and best practice from peacebuilding efforts internationally in support of global peacebuilding efforts. Commenting, our Chief Executive, Sharmila Nebhrajani, pointed out that “The series continues to draw on both established and up-and-coming peacebuilding actors in order to explore the impacts of evolving trends on the shifting international peacebuilding landscape.” This reaffirms our commitment to bring African voices, expertise and experience to the fore to address challenges faced by conflict afflicted populations everywhere.
Andrea Johnson speaking at our event
Commenting on the event and the series as a whole, Andrea Johnson, of the Higher Education and Research in Africa Programme of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, said that these “…convenings organized by Wilton Park are important because of the opportunities they offer experts in African peacebuilding to assess current knowledge, policy, and practice, identify gaps, and attempt to generate common positions on ways of strengthening positive peace in the continent.”
Cyril Obi, Program Director, African Peacebuilding Network (APN), Social Science Research Council (SSRC), New York
These sentiments were echoed by Cyril Obi, Programe Director of the African Peacebuilding Network, stating that “The meeting affirmed that Africa plays, and will continue to play, an important role in the future of peacebuilding. African voices and perspectives, therefore need to be mainstreamed in the debates, decisions and practices of global and regional institutions, states, and non-state actors.”
The series as a whole has sought to consider the areas for inter-disciplinary cooperation among different African peacebuilding stakeholders and how they can contribute to peacebuilding both locally and globally. The challenges have included navigating a shifting peace and security terrain, as Dr Obi posits, factors as diverse and disparate as “climate change, energy, technology, youth, demography and media radically reshape our world, the time to plan the future of conflict transformation is already upon us all.”
Previous events in our conflict prevention, resolution and statebuilding programme have included our recent work in Colombia on The Colombia peace agreement and its implementation as well as our work focusing on ameliorating the negative impacts conflict has on the most vulnerable in societies, particularly Dealing with the mental health needs of children and adolescents affected by conflict and Protecting civilians in conflict afflicted areas: working with partners militaries.